Chad Wright; Photo: UK Athletics
In the first intrastate matchup of the 2011 season the University of Kentucky had no trouble with the Morehead State University pitching staff in a 12-3 win. Six different UK batters tallied multiple hits in the game. UK junior outfielder Chad Wright was 3-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. UK Sophomore right-handed pitcher Walter Wijas was credited with the win after pitching three and two-third scoreless innings in relief. Wijas struck out three batters and walked two. UK freshman second baseman Matt Reida was 3-5 with one RBI and two runs scored in the game, and junior third baseman Thomas McCarthy was 3-5 with one RBI and two runs scored. UK freshman right-handed pitcher Jonathan Paquet surrendered two runs in three innings in his first collegiate start.
The Morehead St. pitching staff was able to work out of trouble early in the game, preventing UK from scoring a run after loading the bases in three consecutive innings, but a three-run seventh inning and four-run eighth inning from UK put the game out of reach. At the plate Morehead St. junior catcher Taylor Davis was 2-5 with one RBI. Junior outfielder Luke Bainer, sophomore shortstop Austin Haney and redshirt freshman outfielder Nick Duff each tallied two hits in the game. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson was credited with the loss after surrendering four runs on seven hits in three innings. The Eagles used seven different pitchers in the game, including weekend starting pitchers Trey Smith and Josh Schneider. (Box Sc0re)
Following the completion of the “offseason position battle” series we will post a lineup project for each of the five division one schools this week. The lineups are based on the position battle posts and are only a guess and what each Opening Day lineup might look like. We will also include weekend rotations, midweek starters and closers for good measure. We are working in reverse order of the 2010 records, begining the series with Morehead State University.
- C — Taylor Davis
- 1B — Michael Fear
- 2B — Travis Redmon
- 3B — Andrew Deeds
- SS — Austin Haney
- LF — Daniel Pugh
- CF — Luke Bainer
- RF — Ryan Conner
- DH — Bud Morton
- RHP — Trey Smith
- RHP — Josh Schneider
- RHP — Cody Gibson
- LHP — Garrick Whittle
- RHP — Matthew Robertson
*A previous version of this post incorrectly to identified Ryan Conner as Eric Sanders. This post has also been amended to include information learned after its original publishing.
In the second Morehead State University post in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant outfield position.
The departed — All-Ohio Valley Conference outfielder J. D. Ashbrook, a 2010 senior, led Morehead St. in batting (.432), home runs (18), runs scored (69), stolen bases (14), slugging percentage (.795) and on-base percentage (.540) in 2010. The right-handed hitter signed a free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox after not being selected in the 2010 MLB draft. Ashbrook started all but one game in center field for the Eagles last season. His .540 on-base percentage led all Kentucky division one collegians in 2010. Outfielder Cameron Flynn, a 2010 sophomore who transferred following the 2010 season, was the only other Eagle to record a start in center field last season.
Returning candidates — Morehead St. senior Daniel Pugh and junior Luke Bainer return in 2011 after making the majority of the starts in left and right field respectively in 2010…Redshirt freshman outfielder Ryan Conner slugged three home runs during the fall Blood Bowl series after sitting out the 2010 season. Morehead St. coach Jason Neal said of Conner following the fall scrimmage series: “It seems that Ryan Conner has given us a big hit every time we have needed one this whole series. His home run in the seventh [inning of game four] to answer their run in the top of the inning was huge.”…Junior utility man Andrew Deeds made two starts in left field in 2010…Sophomore outfielder Winston Brodrick appeared in 15 games for Morehead St. in 2010, going 1-8 on the season. According to Brodrick’s MSU bio he batted a ridiculous .650 with 52 stolen bases as a senior in high school…Freshman outfielder Nick Duff also redshirted during the 2010 season.
Newcomers to watch — Freshman outfielder and left-handed pitcher Duran Elmore is the only new outfielder listed on the Morehead St. roster. Elmore comes to the Eagles after excelling as the primary center fielder for Danville High School. Elmore was honored with a Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association’s first-team all-state selection following his senior year. As a junior Elmore batted .408 with 46 stolen bases.
Wildcard — Conner was the standout among outfield candidates during the fall Blood Bowl series, so the real wild card in this race may come if head coach Jay Sorg decides to move one of the incumbent corner outfielders (Pugh and Bainer) to center and play Conner or another returner in left or right field. At 6-6 Conner may profile better defensively in a corner outfield role than the vacant center field position.
Morehead State University held off a late rally from IPFW to preserve a 13-12 victory and series win Sunday. The Eagles allowed five runs in the top of the ninth inning, but freshman left-handed reliever Garrett Whittle entered the game with the tieing run on base and recorded the final two outs of the game for his first career save. Sophomore left fielder Luke Bainer led the Eagles with three hits, and senior center fielder J. D. Ashbrook launched a home run and drove in three.
Six Eagles tallied at least two hits, and just one starter went hitless in the game. Five Morehead batters scored at least twice, and four Eagles drove in at least two runs. Morehead improved to 11-12 on the season. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Cameron Flynn — The sophomore designated hitter was 2-2 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored in the game. The long ball was Flynn’s fourth of the season, and he now has 14 RBI and 14 runs scored.